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Maximizing advisor productivity

Advice for building a stable and successful career.

Financial advisor Lynn Curtin Lange, owner of North Shore Wealth Management in Burlington, Ontario,

specializes in investment portfolio management, estate planning and insurance needs for a growing roster of clients. 

Managing the demands of a growing business while raising a young family is a balancing act that can test the mettle of even the most motivated individual. For Ontario-based financial advisor Lynn Curtin Lange, finding balance early on was an important catalyst that has contributed to her successful career, spanning decades.  

“I had a serious car accident at the peak of RRSP season in February of 1996 prompting me to realize that I couldn’t do it all and I needed to give up some control and bring someone on as part of the team,” says Lynn. “This is when I began with my first associate, and I was one of the first advisors to do this.” 

Morphing the business in this way was Lynn’s way of recognizing burnout. “There was no more time in the day, and I knew I had to do something. And this was before the technology improvements that we have today,” says Lynn. 

Burnout is a very real concern for many professionals. In one survey, about one-third of Canadian workers say they’re feeling the effects of workplace burnout, while another survey found that seven in 10 Canadians have considered quitting their jobs due to burnout or stress.  

A career as an advisor can be rewarding but also presents significant challenges in work-life balance. An important factor in career longevity may rely on your ability to manage a schedule effectively.  

“Time management is so important, and multi-tasking is tough,” says Lynn. “Meeting with a client, then meeting with someone else, then shifting to working on a project and then pivoting to a meeting prep for something else the next day - all these different tasks are using different parts of our brain, which can leave you feeling frazzled. It makes more sense to group similar work together.” 

A winning strategy that Lynn and her team follow is prioritizing work based on the time of year. “For instance, the first quarter mainly deal with tasks related to TFSAs, RRSP season and year-end summaries. We bundle similar tasks together now for better flow – to avoid multitasking and to maintain focus.” 

Time management also includes scheduling me-time into your day or week. 

“I’ve learned that you have to set clear boundaries,” says Lynn. “I have an alert set on my phone for 5 p.m. and when it goes off, I know it’s time to wrap things up for the day. Sometimes I’ll need to accommodate an evening appointment, but video conferencing makes this so much easier now.” 

And just like client appointments, sometimes you just need to schedule yourself into the weekly calendar. 

“At every part of my career, I’ve had to carve out time for me, for self-care,” says Lynn. “For me that’s yoga, summer at the cottage, skiing in the winter and travel with family. And I need to schedule all of this in at the beginning of the year, so I know I have those things to look forward to.”  

While setting boundaries and scheduling in downtime are key factors in her lengthy career, Lynn also credits her desire for continuous learning as a constant source of motivation. 

“I’m always updating my skillset based on the latest industry trends and technologies to make our business better, and continuous learning invigorates the interest that I have in the business,” says Lynn.  

“We’ve gone from the early 2000’s, when the internet and email were becoming more mainstream, to CRM systems to video conferencing and now collaborative platforms using artificial intelligence. There’s always something new to learn, and the more I can bring to the table, the more clients trust us to help them – and that’s really satisfying.” 

But at the end of the day, Lynn offers this reminder that advisor success often requires an attitude of gratitude.  

“In my early days, if I didn’t meet my goals, I was very down and didn’t know what I was going to do,” says Lynn. “I remember I wasn’t making enough to cover the cost of daycare and people around me were commenting about why I was still doing that job. I never anticipated being profitable in the opening couple of years – the idea was that I was seeing growth, was enjoying it and that I needed to be patient. For new advisors it’s important to realize that this business isn’t an overnight success – it takes a lot of consistent work, a lot of patience, and you need to celebrate the small wins along the way.” 

Success formula 

Everyone will have their own formula for advisor success, but here are a few of Lynn’s favourite ways to maintain focus, energy and enthusiasm over the long haul: 

Boundaries: Set clear boundaries. Consider setting an alert on your phone to signal the end of the workday. When the alarm goes off, it’s time to wrap things up and shift focus to friends and family.   

Support: Developed a network of advisors for inspiration and motivation. It helps to have friends who are going through the same thing as you. It gives you a safe space to share challenges with an empathetic group.  

Recess: Consider scheduling a break in your workday to regain balance. Book an hour to enjoy a technology-free activity such as yoga, a bike ride or a walk. Come back to the job focused and ready to go again.  

Time management: Prioritize work based on priorities for the calendar quarter. For instance, the first quarter is prioritized to deal with tasks related to TFSAs, RRSP season and year-end summaries. Bundle similar tasks together for better flow – to avoid multitasking and to maintain focus.  

Continuous learning: Stay up to date on the latest industry trends and technologies. Continuous learning will invigorate the interest that you have in the business.  

Delegate: You can’t be everywhere all the time. Consider a team approach where clients will receive the exact same service from everyone in the office. It’s more efficient and enhances the service level for the clients. 

Gratitude: Remember to reflect on your achievements and don’t be too hard on yourself. Consistent work and patience pay off. 

For more on business building insights, consider these other resources.  

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